Family of murdered mum accuse police of Human Rights failings

Police who arrived too late to save the life of a young mum have been accused of falling short of their Human Rights obligations.

Joanna Michael, from Cardiff, was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend five years ago, after making two frantic calls to emergency services.

A series of mistakes meant that by the time officers arrived at the scene, Miss Michael had already died at the hands of her ex-partner, Cyron Williams. He was later jailed for life.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has already ruled that the 25-year-old was failed by both Gwent and South Wales Police.

Now, in a landmark case, her family are attempting to launch a negligence claim against the officers involved. They will argue that the authorities have breached Article 2 of the Human Rights Act, which can impose obligations on police and other state bodies to protect life.

The Michael family have secured support from civil liberties charity Liberty and the domestic violence organisation Refuge, who will be making representations at the Supreme Court.

Solicitor Sarah Ricca, who is handling the case, said: “For too long the police have failed victims of domestic violence – and for too long they’ve been protected by the law.

“The Human Rights Act has made inroads into that protection but this important piece of legislation is vulnerable to repeal by Parliament.

“This appeal is about strengthening police accountability in the UK, through the rights protected by the European Convention and through the English common law right not to be caused harm by negligence.”

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